Uran Ferizi reportedly snuck into Britain on the back of a truck pretending to be a refugee
Albania’s new envoy to the UK entered the country illegally in 1998 and made a bogus asylum claim, the Daily Mail reported on Friday. A former Albanian foreign minister estimates that more than a million Albanians left for the UK over the last decade, viewing Britain as “a welfare state for the unskilled.”
Uran Ferizi was accepted by the UK Foreign Office last week as Albania’s ambassador to Britain, despite having no diplomatic experience. With almost half of all illegal immigrants to the UK by sea coming from Albania in the latter half of 2022, and with London and Tirana having recently signed a deal to fast-track their deportation, managing the migrant crisis will be one of his main responsibilities.
However, Ferizi is an illegal immigrant himself, the Daily Mail claimed. Citing “multiple sources,” the paper described how the ambassador stowed away on a truck crossing the English Channel in 1998, arriving in Dover without any identification documents and falsely telling authorities that he was a refugee fleeing the war in Kosovo.
Ferizi, who was 17 at the time, was allowed to stay in Britain while his case was assessed. He married a British woman just two years later and was then granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, followed by British citizenship.
A computer scientist who worked in the financial sector, Ferizi has no experience in the diplomatic service. The Daily Mail claimed that he got the job as envoy due to his “close relationship with [Albania’s] socialist leadership.”
“It’s not diplomatically, morally or ethically right for someone who entered the UK illegally to be appointed ambassador,” a former Albanian foreign minister, Edith Harxhi, told the Mail, adding that “the migration crisis must be taken seriously.”
A record 45,756 migrants crossed the English Channel in so-called ‘small boats’ last year. During the second half of the year, 42% of these migrants hailed from Albania, a country that the UK considers “safe.” Some 15,925 Albanians applied for asylum in the UK last year, nearly triple the number that applied in 2021.
Harxhi told The Daily Mail that Albania’s population has fallen by around 1.5 million since 2011. “I believe the majority of those people have gone to the UK,” she said. “Many Albanians see it as a welfare state for the unskilled.”
A recent report by the British parliament casts doubt on Harxhi’s figures, claiming that around 140,000 Albanians live in the UK. However, this report does not count those who have become British citizens since arriving.
The Foreign Office refused to comment on Ferizi’s immigration status, stating that “it is for Albania to recommend a candidate to be their ambassador.”
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